Guitar Notes

  • Interest Level: Grade 7 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 7

On odd days, Tripp uses a school practice room to let loose on a borrowed guitar. Eyes closed, strumming that beat-up instrument, Tripp escapes to a world where only the music matters.

On even days, Lyla Marks uses the same practice room. To Tripp, she’s trying to become even more perfect—she’s already a straight-A student and an award-winning cellist. But when Lyla begins leaving notes for him in between the strings of the guitar, his life intersects with hers in a way he never expected.

What starts as a series of snippy notes quickly blossoms into the sharing of interests and secrets and dreams, and the forging of a very unlikely friendship.

Challenging each other to write songs, they begin to connect, even though circumstances threaten to tear them apart.

From beloved author Mary Amato comes a YA novel of wit and wisdom, both heartfelt and heart­breaking, about the power of music and the unexpected chords that draw us together.

Format Your Price Add
Interest Level Grade 7 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 7
Genre Young Adult
Copyright 2012
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Carolrhoda Lab ®
Language English
Number of Pages 320
Publication Date 2012-08-01
Reading Counts! Level 4.2
Reading Counts! Points 12.0
Text Type Fiction
BISACS YAF047030, YAF058120, YAF018000
Dewey [Fic]
Dimensions 5.1875 x 8
Lexile 680
ATOS Reading Level 4.0
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 153609
Accelerated Reader® Points 6.0
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Author/Illustrator note, Awards, Page Plus™, and Reviewed


  • Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award Reading List, Long-listed, 2016
  • Utah Beehive Award Nominee, Nominated, 2015
  • Nutmeg Award Nominee, Nominated, 2012
  • Kentucky Bluegrass Award, Winner, 2012
  • South Carolina Book Award Nominee, Nominated, 2012


School Library Journal

“[A] sweet story of two different loners finding their counterpoint.” —School Library Journal

Library Media Connection

“Amato wonderfully reveals, in alternating chapters, that these two are not as one-sided as they may seem. That they suffer from similar hurts makes their growing concern for, and attraction to, each other very believable.” —Library Media Connection


“Lyla and Tripp’s chaste relationship makes this accessible for younger tweens, much in the style of Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries books. Amato is able to produce both silly fiction for the juvenile crowd and poignant, realistic fiction for older readers without sacrificing humor or depth.” —Booklist

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“Amato brings these characters to life with pitch-perfect detail and wrenching anxieties that will resonate strongly with readers.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Kirkus Reviews

“Amato, also a Washington, D.C.–area songwriter, weaves in convincing musical detail and advice that will appeal especially to readers experimenting with an instrument themselves.
This one will resonate.” —Kirkus Reviews

Publishers Weekly

“While the story is notably ‘clean’…the characters’ chemistry will have readers’ hearts racing.” —Publishers Weekly

Author: Mary Amato

Mary Amato is an award-winning children's and YA book author, songwriter, and poet who lives in Maryland. Her books have been translated into foreign languages, optioned for television, and produced onstage.